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Musings of an Argyll Surveyor


This is the time of year that we most enjoy being out on survey, especially when the weather is so good in beautiful Mid and West Argyll and the Islands. The days are much longer just now and getting up early doesn’t seem so bad (it isn’t dark at 4.00am in the morning). The views and landscapes are terrific and everything is turning green while the bluebells line the roads on the A83 road to Lochgilphead and Campbelltown. Getting up early has its advantages as we see all kinds of wildlife before the world has woken up. Deer are the most common and can sometimes prove a bit of a hazard on the road. There are also rabbits, foxes and the occasional badger and hedgehog on the road and lots of slightly eerie looking grey herons.

Just some of the reasons we miss being out and about just now.

Planes, quad bikes, boats and automobiles:

The car is usually our first mode of transport in the morning as we are often bound for the Islands of Islay, Mull, Coll, Tiree, Jura and Colonsay, to name but a few. We sometimes fly from Oban Airport in Connell to Coll and Tiree with spectacular views from the small 10-seater plane. Otherwise we fly from Glasgow airport on a slightly bigger more comfortable plane which takes a different route over the Clyde estuary and the Corryvreckan whirlpool. Alternatively, we will take the Caledonian Macbrayne ferry from Oban to Mull and from Kennacraig to Islay. These are big car and passenger ferries however sometimes the only way is by a smaller passenger ferry which only holds a dozen or so. The passenger ferry from Tayvallich to Jura is a favourite where quite often porpoises accompany you on your journey across the water. There is also a small motorboat which travels a few hundred yards from Ellenabeich to Easdale island, the slate island (famous for its skimming stones competition). The journey from Port Appin (famous for its award-winning hotel/restaurant) to the historic island of Lismore is also a great experience.

Sometimes the properties we visit are so remote we end up walking the last mile or so e.g. a light house keepers house on the coast outside Tobermory which had no services! One time I had to hitch a lift on a quad bike the last few hundred yards to a beach side cottage.

Every day is different for us and we don’t always know what to expect when we get to a property, but they are nearly always completely unique. There are wee stone but-and-bens in the middle of nowhere at one end of the scale and larger architect designed state of the art and energy efficient houses on a beach in Tiree or former farmhouses with acres of ground and an Octagonal shaped bungalow on its own island.

Rural value for money

The market in Argyll had been performing relatively well prior to lockdown and we hope this continues to be the case when we return to normality. There has been much reporting in the press of potential purchasers extending their search to a larger area. Working from home has made people realise that the more remote and rural locations provide the camaraderie and spirit of a small village and countryside with low congestion, low pollution and quality of life.

The value for money is extraordinary where you can buy a small cottage for between £130 - 200k or a larger 3/4 bed detached house in a terrific location with sea views for around £400k. The yachting havens and villages on the west coast are particularly popular and receive worldwide attraction e.g. Tarbert, Tayvallich, Ardfern, Craobh Haven and Kilmelford. Properties in shore fronting positions with access to the water and moorings or jetty will always command a premium. When you compare what you might have to pay for a 2 bed flat in Glasgow’s West end or in London then it seems a good choice to move to the more remote areas - particularly if you are able to work from home.


About the author

Graeme is a qualified Chartered Surveyor and Registered Valuer specialising in the residential property sector and covering the areas of Argyll and Bute and Helensburgh , Dumbarton and The Vale of Leven. He is a Director of Allied Surveyors Scotland plc based in their Helensburgh office with over 30 years experience in the property market. Graeme carries out Home Reports , RICS reports , inspections for Energy Performance Certificates and valuation reports for private individuals and Banks and Building Societies. 

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